(Pocket-lint) - Microsoft is no longer the force in web browsers it was in the days of Internet Explorer, but stacks of people use Microsoft Edge - the browser that comes with Windows 10.
Microsoft Edge is changing and the new version is rolling out now. Most noticeably there will be a new logo - shown above - which is a more stylised version of the 'e' we've been used to since Internet Explorer first appeared.
Edge has been rebuilt
However, the biggest change is underneath the surface. The entire way the browser is built is changing, from Microsoft's own EdgeHTML engine to Chromium - yes, that's the rendering engine that underpins Google Chrome.
Stats suggest that around 10 percent of desktop users use either Edge or Internet Explorer. And in the US and UK, it's more like 15 percent.
There's another 10 percent each for Firefox and Safari with Chrome just shy of 70 percent of global desktop browser users.
Microsoft says it has worked hard to minimise memory consumption and increase performance with the new browser. We've been using an early version and we have to say we've been broadly impressed.
How Edge is now more like Chrome
There are a bunch of issues around how much control of the web Microsoft is passing to Google with the new Edge, but the fact is that Chromium is open source and can be used by anybody whereas Chrome is a different beast, with more features and isn't open source.
Edge will now be similar to Chrome in that it takes Chromium and builds more on top of it. Microsoft says it will be working to improve the Chromium engine as well, presumably by contributing engineering effort.
Edge will now run Google Chrome browser extensions, too.
When it'll appear
Windows 10 Home and Pro PCs that are running Windows 10 1803 (April 2018 Update) or later will be automatically updated to the new software - it won't be an option.
Business users can opt-out of the upgrade and remain on the current version of Microsoft Edge - many businesses use bespoke browser-based software that will need compatibility testing.
Opting out will be automatic for any PCs connected to Active Directory or Azure Active or machines that are managed by an external administrator.
Other platforms and features
Microsoft Edge will also be available for macOS as well as iOS and Android and you can sync all your bookmarks and other user info across devices with your Microsoft Account.
Unfortunately, though, you can't sign into Edge with a Google Account as you can with Chrome.
If you think it's a bit odd for Microsoft to have a browser on macOS, it's not - Microsoft's own Internet Explorer used to be pretty much the main browser choice on the Mac and was even the default for a time before Safari took over in 2003.
The browser enables you to customise your start page, tab layout and more. There's even an Internet Explorer mode should you be on an ancient website or web service that requires it.
Microsoft also says it has worked to bring other features to the new browser such as native 4K streaming and Dolby audio support and the ability to 'ink' in PDFs - handy if you need to sign a document on your PC.
Naturally Microsoft is talking about the new Edge in partnership with Bing Search, but you can change